Stuck as to where to begin, in the imagined expectations of an explanation of poetics’ over-grid, in a way I never experience when I think I am setting out to write the start from any everywhere is here poem. I trust you know the feeling. Simple statements, then. I am interested in accident, in discovery, specifically in not writing what I (& by implication & bond, we) already know. My un-method is to collect notes comprised of what arises in mind, parallel to reading (a kind of quirky, illuminative mis-reading) & in walking, seeing, listening, mis-hearing, & re-associating. Most recent work was taken from notes compiled over the past number of years, some of them dating back to the even the earliest of my 20 years in Japan. The experience of rediscovering the possible sense/s of these notes & putting them to work is, to me, a most liberating necessity in a happy but overturned life. When/if anything good results, I sense it (not as authoritive writer, but as a kind of first reader) an elusive instance of the famous fuzzy logic of no single location, no one trajectory. I may have had my fill of tsunamis (how odd to pluralize) but I still believe the poem must pull the rug out from under (slip the tectonic to maximize disaster) or it is not. And what continues to CanLit poetry prizes is the endlessness of classical mechanics, predicting the behavior of things with ‘certainty’. Is the sense-prosaic, is the invested journalistic, is the belabored legalistic. The poem as anywhere until particular you reads it into changes; reconstituted by the reader as a new form which answers no yet-posed question. Yeah, I guess I feel more comfortable speaking here as a reader, as one proposing a readers’ poetic. I want to (do) stand in the same relationship to the poem written as you do, reading it. I think the very act of reading coalesces into a measurement we rush to call meaning. Even as parallel lines seem to locate themselves elsewhere in the singing mind, the stripes of light that result are the poem’s interference patterns. (Understand, I sense the pretentiousness in that statement, & so, I trust, do you.) I am not proposing this as anything new, & we know ideas of quantum mechanics became Pop-culture common knowledge back there somewhere in The Tao of Physics 60’s we are not supposed to remember. Indeed, Un Coup de Dés Jamais N’Abolira Le Hasard, Mallarmé in 1897 wrote, a poem/poetic split into 17th C. wikipedias of purport that has more threads interlocking with our current ‘under eternal circumstances from the bottom of a shipwreck’ social present than most GG winners of even this new (already fading) millennium. So, Toute Pensée émet un Coup de Dés / Every Thought issues a Throw of Dice, is maybe still the simplest way to say where we start each time. Or, the ‘God does not throw dice’ of what me worry? Albert E.
I’ve been working with false couplets a lot: the gaps between the lines (sense) are the quantum leaps effected by phonetic twists, broken grammar, foiled collocations of semantic/idiomatic expectation, etc. Just as in real science where they find entanglement absurd, the meta-lingual which results seems to run parallel to the classical (the prosaic) sense. The writer (who? me?) thinks s/he is putting his/her spin on things. This is, I think, Einstein’s spooky action & Spicer’s radio rolled into one perfectly savory al dente won ton gyouza snack-wrap. I hope you don’t think I’m making an analogy out of (crudely understood) science. I think we actually sense it as the real effect of writing that writing we may still dare to call poetry. Teleportation, a stretch, but a distance crossed that creates difference is the difference. What is the poem before you read it, what after? Poems exist only when we read/observe them; protons tunnel through the walls of what we think we solidly know. The reader thinks back to try to trace the prior before reading state of it, gone. I’ve been clumsily testing this by using highly personal memories & associations, words that cannot possibly have the specific emotional charge (let alone reference) for the reader that they have for me. For the reader they are perhaps only (at best hope) photons of the present on the page as a reconstituted language event. In this sense, any poem has as many (overlapping) possibilities as there are readers of that poem. And the thing that the writer wrote/read/printed is, therefore, each time, destroyed in the process. New originals shunting all over the place. Hardest-core Marxists will find that a highly impractical, non-pragmatic, interval in process; the CBC & book-prize salivating readers will dismiss it as being just absurd. Bad science, worse politics, the worst of poetry. Theoretical faux-poems of sloppiest misconception. (Here a character from H.G. Wells enters to say, “I wouldn’t step into that time machine if my life depended on it.”) The 0/1 fuzzy mixture is that oscillation; the sensation is the poetic. Partly here in print, partly there in you. How it, in body-mind, (is that Duncan or kokoro heart/mind?) feels to you.
Gerry Gilbert, in his hyper-energetic lifetime, was written off by some as a stoned diarist, but it always seemed to me that that quickly-dismissive bunch couldn’t simultaneously shadow-box his particled word, nor ride his recollection in waves of the days’ daily exists & exits. Or wouldn’t concern themselves with the sliding scale of his focus & expansion. Lissa Wolsak’s concatenate concentrations explode exponentially, are “dangerous,” she says, I see. Ottawa-rob mclennan’s syntactically circling fragments are to me the one-universe-removed equivalents of Cy Twombly’s graphite gray over off-white paper. Among the so-many others I would name are Amy De’Ath, Dorothy Trujillo Lusk, Deanna Ferguson, Kevin Davies, Peter Culley, Colin Smith, Chris Nealon... poets whose work written travels light years from work received in any Spicerian sense. “Leaping orbits!” said Perry White, editor in chief of The Daily Planet, “Did I really move intact through the space in-between?” Great bards in the electron-smeared bardos! The unpredicted possibility is already waving back at you. Still gawking, still attending mind to the jumble of simultaneity, the eternally-bouncing cars in a Fukushima parking lot.
January 13 / 2015